Walk the Plank by Marilyn Barr
Branko learns he will be sold into slavery when they dock in Charles Town, so he doesn’t hesitate to jump ship onto a neighboring sloop in the harbor. This boat will weigh anchor with him at the helm–once he decides what to do with the lady chained in the cargo hold who claims she’s a vampire.
Magda Dashkovari’s body has been given to science while she’s still living in it. Her prayers are answered when a pirate boards her boat, but she should have asked for her rescuer to be less bloodthirsty than she is…
Scientists hunt her in town, plantation owners hunt him from the north and south, Blackbeard blocks Charles Town Harbor to the east, and a war rages between settlers and natives to the west. These unlikely allies will have to link together to escape a life in chains…but will their trust in each other endure their journey to freedom?
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 4 – R Rated
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have two day jobs in addition to writing and one is as a homeschool mom. In our homeschool, I created a unit on the pirate code and its similarities to the Declaration of American Independence. I fell in love with the black spot where anyone in any position could be voted down to a lesser station by majority. Every full-share crewmember (not cabin boys, doxies or prostitutes, or those with partial contracts) had an equal say in boat matters such as the black spot, destinations, boarding or boat attacks, and plunder share percentages.
I was amazed by the conflicting attitudes of those on land in the pre-America new world and those on the water. A man of color would be valued with an equal say in his destiny on a boat but forced into slavery on land. A colonial wife was viewed as property on land but a pirate woman (non-prostitute) was seen as an equal voice to a man at the same boat position. I wanted to explore the feelings of someone who had two radically different levels of status and danger – depending on where they stood.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
In my hero, Branko, I explore the feelings of a man of color in the dichotomy of a valued pirate crew member on the water and a potential slave on land in 1718. The Golden Age of Piracy is ending which will strip away his rights if he doesn’t find a place far away from the ever expanding of plantations of the New World. I wanted to show the options for a man like Branko and highlight who the villains are from this period of American history. Yes, the pirates had bloodthirsty reputations but they weren’t the evil ones in my opinion. As a member of Blackbeard’s crew, he would be under the protection of the ‘Devil of the Sea’ and untouchable. However, there are documents suggesting Blackbeard started trading crew members for quicksilver treatments in 1718, so Branko isn’t as safe as he thinks. When it is his turn to be sold, he runs…and our story begins…
“Who is Blackbeard?” My heart skips a beat at her naivete. Her accent is foreign, so I forgive the slight.
Unfortunately, she takes the opening to worm her way further into my mind. “We got off to a poor start. I am
Magda Dashkovari, and I am a vampire.”
My disbelief bubbles like a good ale as we reach the deck. Gut-busting, belly-aching, side-stitching laughter brings tears to my eyes. From a madman captain who masquerades as a demon to a madwoman boat owner who masquerades as a vampire—I can pick ’em, can’t I? She wraps her wrist with furious revolutions while I wipe my tears.
“I don’t care what you are,” I tell her, “as long as you are leaving.”
“I could drain you.”
“I could throw you overboard.”
“—in Charles Town Harbor, and this boat is leaving.”
“I will sink this boat before I let you return it to my husband! Whatever he has promised in reward is a lie. Once you are in his harbor, one of his minions will drain you—”
“Oh, he’s a vampire, too. Is there a whole colony waiting for me somewhere? Listen, sea hag, I don’t know your husband, and the last thing in my future is to return his boat.”
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